Saturday, August 19, 2006

Some thoughts on the New School

(or "Why I hope everyone is a dedicated follower of fashion")

painted lady on Echinacea

(Painted Lady butterfly on Echinacea purpurea)

Trends seem to come and go in British gardening rather quickly (admittedly not as quickly as on the catwalk but still). In the 60's we had elaborate chintzy bedding plans, in the 70's it was comedy dwarf conifer and gravel combo time (thankfully being a child of the eighties I missed both these abominations). Right now there are two trends I'm very excited about - the first is the return of home grown vegetables. I've always been down with fruit and veg growing even if its in a limited way (fruit trees in the ornamental garden for example) so I'm pleased others are getting stuck in and taking in the resultant health benefits (also it means intriguing new plant varieties become more easily acquired).

The second trend is more relevant to this blog with its nature based output. I'm talking about the new wave style in perennial planting - prairie borders etc as practiced by Piet Oudolf and others.

Painted Lady on Verbena bonariensis
(Painted Lady on Verbena bonariensis)

The gist of this style is to take design inspiration for the ornamental garden from nature and the most common form at the moment is to mix flowering perenials and ornamental grasses to create an ornamental version of the North American prairies or European meadows. [Blogger is being weird about how big this is so Part II will follow with details of why this is a good thing tomorrow]

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